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jueves, 22 de mayo de 2014

THE “PALMERAL” OF ELCHE, UNESCO WORLD HERITAGE SITE.

A beautiful palm trees sea
A beautiful palm trees sea


Cultivation of date palms in Elche is known at least since the Iberian times (fifth century B.C.). Towards the tenth century A.C., when much of the Iberian Peninsula was Arab, the “Palmeral” of Elche, a landscape of groves of date palms, was formally laid out, with an elaborate irrigation system which is still functioning. It´s an UNESCO World Heritage Site since 2000.

The Palmeral of Elche, represent a remarkable example of the transference of a characteristic landscape from one culture and continent to another, from the North Africa to Europe, and has survived to the present day at Elche.

This is the only palm grove of its type anywhere on the European continent. The date palm trees of Elche (about 200.000), can grow to a height of more than 30 m and live for over 300 years.
 

Image of the Palmeral of Elche, one century ago
Image of the Palmeral of Elche, one century ago.



 
collecting dates, one century ago
Collecting dates, one century ago
 
 
Pruning a palm tree
Pruning a palm tree.

During the last years there is a dangerous threat for the palm trees from Asia and Africa: the red palm weevil, a species of beetle. Their larvae excavate holes in the trunk of palm trees, weakening and even killing them.
 
 
The red palm weevil
The red palm weevil.

The Palmeral isn´t a unique place, you can see it inside the city and in the country around the town. The best places to see the Palmeral of Elche are:

 

Municipality Park (free admission)

Museo del Palmeral (small visitors centr¡er in a traditional house):
http://www.visitelche.com/en/cultural-tourism/visits/elche/museos/museo-del-palmeral/

Palm Grove Walk
http://www.visitelche.com/en/routes/ruta-del-palmeral/

Huerto del cura (with entrance fee)
http://www.visitelche.com/en/ecotourism/parques-periurbanos/jardin-huerto-del-cura/

 
Partial view of the Palmeral of Elche
Municipality Park - Partial view